More trouble in Pakistan

March 30, 2009

Further evidence of the sorry state of affairs in Pakistan as gunmen have seized a police academy in Lahore.

These attacks are becoming increasingly frequent and the Government of Pakistan must step up its security to an extremely high level to avoid giving the impression that it simply has no strategy to deal with the militants. This attack has similarities to the attacks in Mumbai and on the Sri Lankan cricket team and should be a concern for other countries such as the UK where terrorist could try and replicate the methods used by the terrorists in Pakistan.


Torture Claims Investigated

March 26, 2009

Police have been called in to investigate the claims of torture by Binyam Mohamed and determine whether any MI5 officer was complicit in the torture. This is entirely appropriate and as I have mentioned before, there should be no place in civilised society for methods of interrogation which are not only medieval but quite simply counter productive.


Iraq Inquiry

March 25, 2009

David Miliband has confirmed that an inquiry into the Iraq war will be held sometime after July 2009. This is long overdue and it is to be hoped that the inquiry is comprehensive and wide ranging, and this time actually deals with all the circumstances leading up to the war especially the use of intelligence by ministers in making decisions.


No More Fiscal Stimulus?

March 24, 2009

‘Given how big [UK fiscal] deficits are, I think it would be sensible to be cautious about going further in using discretionary measures to expand the size of those deficits.

The level of the fiscal position in the UK is not one that would say: ‘Well, why don’t we just engage in another significant round of fiscal expansion?’

Mervyn King giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee has cast serious doubts on Gordon Brown’s preferred remedy for the UK economy. Brown might as well cancel the G20 summit and save the taxpayers millions earmarked for the policing of this event!

Hat tip: Coffee House, Ben Brogan


Two Million Unemployed

March 18, 2009

Unemployment has topped two million for the first time since 1997 and is confirmation of how severe the current economic slump is and how devastating its effect has been on working families. The consequences of unemployment are truly tragic with social breakdown, welfare dependency, family tensions all adversely increasing.

The number of jobless people is set to increase with the IMF predicting that the recession in the UK will last longer than any of the world’s other major economies. Already there are ten jobseekers for every vacancy advertised with this figure increasing to as many as 30 in some parts of the country.

The Labour Government promised to spend its way out of recession by undertaking huge public works programs but there seems to be little evidence of this actually happening as we see the unemployment figures rising rapidly on their march to the three million mark.


Timid Apology?

March 17, 2009

Does taking ‘full responsibility’ constitute an apology or is it simply a clever play with words to say that ‘it’s not my fault but being the magnanimous person I am, I am prepared to be held to account’?

Gordon Brown’s actual words are:

‘I take full responsibility for all my actions, but I think we’re dealing with a bigger problem that is global in nature, as well as national. Perhaps 10 years ago after the Asian crisis when other countries thought these problems would go away, we should have been tougher … keeping and forcing these issues on to the agenda like we did on debt relief and other issues of international policy.’

While looking at from past mistakes is obviously important, it is more important Gordon Brown puts in place the right policies now to get the country out of the current economic slump – something  he seems unfortunately incapable of doing. I’ve no doubt he and will look at this period in ten years time and wish he’d done things differently and not burdened the country with mountainous debt.


Extremely Gloomy Forecast

March 12, 2009

A report by City Investment bank Numis Securities says:

‘Despite UK house prices already having fallen 21% from the peak, we do not believe that the correction is anywhere near over.

Our core headline forecast is that UK property prices remain between 17% and 39% overvalued based on fair valuation. Moreover, history has shown us that when property…which has experienced a price bubble corrects, the price tends to fall below fair value for a period of time, as confidence in that market remains low. Prices could fall a further 40-55% if the over-correction was as bad as the early 1990s in our view

The bankruptcy of the UK is a very real probability as the UK Government is trying to stimulate a greater debt burden in a grossly indebted economy. We believe the scale of the macro imbalances in the UK means there is no prospect of a recovery in 2009 and we expect the UK to be mired in a deep recession through all of 2010.’